Australian Jack Miller has taken aim at doubters and critics after he clinched his maiden MotoGP race win for his underdog team in The Netherlands.
Miller and his Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS team became the first independent team to claim a MotoGP victory in a decade when he overcame torrential rain at Assen which forced organisers to stop the Dutch TT race and rerun it as a reduced 12-lap event.
The 21-year-old Townsville product finished almost two seconds ahead of Honda’s Marc Marquez of Spain, who stretched his lead atop the world championship standings, with Brit Scott Redding third.
Miller used win to shut down those who expressed doubts about his ability to successfully make the big transition after moving from the third-tier world championship category to the premier MotoGP class in 2015 off the back of six wins from 18 Moto3 races the previous year.
“This makes it clear that we do know how to ride a motorbike and I’m not an idiot,” he said.
The victory made Miller the first Australian to win a MotoGP race since Casey Stoner’s last win at Phillip Island in 2012 and he thanked Honda for taking a “gamble” on him.
Miller said minor tweaks to his Honda on Sunday did the trick after enduring “two little crashes” before the 26-lap race was red-flagged after 14 laps and rescheduled as a 12-lap race.
“We adapted our bike around it and changed the set-up for today,” he said.
“After the first race, we made some more changes to get it ready for the re-start and it was even better and the tyres worked very good for me in the race.”
Before the race was stopped, riders largely managed to stay on board their bikes despite starting on a wet track, but after the restart the conditions caused carnage among the leaders.
The three riders on the front row for the 12-lap sprint – Andrea Dovizioso, Rossi and Danilo Petrucci – all fell and did not finish the race.
The Moto2 race was cut short by two laps because of the rain, with Takaaki Nakagami on his Honda profiting from the red flag to take his first win ahead of Johann Zarco of France, whose second place put him joint top in the season’s standings with Alex Rins. Franco Morbidelli of Italy was third.
Earlier, in dry conditions, Francesco Bagnaia won his first Moto3 race in a photo finish and registered the first victory for his Aspar Mahindra team.